Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Exposing myself: Even a diva can show off her inner beauty

Dear Beautiful People,

I have been wanting to write for a while about the act of "stripping".  Please don't stop reading; this is safe for the modest, for children, and for work.  When I talking about stripping, I'm not referring to an immoral or rebellious act.  I am, in fact, referring to the exposure of inner beauty.

I think there are people who have the wrong impression of me.  Because I inherited an eye for fashion from my grandmother Gladys and I like to shop (bargain shop that is), many assume that I am superficial.   I am an artist, but instead of a flat cloth canvas, I use faces.  And instead of pastels and oil paints, I use cosmetics.  It is still very much an art, and requires raw talent, skill, and training to be good at it.  I get many odd looks from other women when I am looking my best--well groomed and dressed impeccably.  They think that I am acting in arrogance.  When in fact, I am merely enjoying that things that make me feel good about myself.  Beauty, fashion, and skin care, is my hobby, and I am merely expressing my artistic nature.

But let me set some things straight.  I am not arrogant, at least I try hard not to ever be.  I see beauty in almost all things, and I do not use my inclination  for "lotions and potions" take precedence over my role as a child of God.  I am His servant, a wife, a mom, and so much more. 

I sometimes struggle with the question "what is my purpose in life?"  I feel that we all have talents, we are all programmed to enjoy certain jobs and tasks.  But what do I really want to do with my talents, my "likes"?  I've always liked to be helpful and encouraging.  I like to make people feel good about themselves.  And being a skin care expert and make up artist allows me to do those things without much frustration (unlike in my first career--teaching middle school kids). I also like to sing--a whole lot.  But I do it for God first, and for my own satisfaction...not for the superficial praise from others.

There is something you may or may not know about me.  Inside I am stripped.  I am completely bare-souled. I have confidence most times, but I am happy to serve, to encourage, to be a witness of Christ's love.   I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I am happy to give it away when someone needs encouragement or love. 

Don't get me wrong, sometimes my love of makeup and handbags may make my mind wander into the unsafe ground of materialism. There are times that I see someone driving by me in a shiny new fancy car, while I am driving an 8 year old mini-van, and I start wishing we could swap.  But when it comes down to it, I realize how blessed I am.  I don't need to show off my outward self, what I strive to do is to expose my humble inner spirit.

My outward appearance is not always top-notch, either.  As a stay-at-home mom and gardener, I can often be found makeup-free, dark undereye circles (had them since birth) and all.  And there are those times when my hair is uncombed and bushy, my clothes are a bit ragged.  You see, I am not so shallow that I claim perfection, and none of you should either.  But when I do get dressed in my hot pink dress and heals, wear my "war paint", and yes, even sport one of my genuine LV's, don't dwell on how I look.  Keep me honest by focusing on how I act!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Trend Watch--The Diva goes "green" at the nail salon!

I am a trend watcher.  I'm not what you would call a trend fanatic--someone who follows every new style or beauty trend that comes down the pike.  Just like Miley Cyrus' celebrity status, fashion trends get "hot" quickly and fade before many of us realize they've moved on to the next big thing.  And now that I am older and a bit wiser than I was in high school and college, I realize that not all style trends are made for every body, every face shape, every skin tone, every stage of life.  I chucked my parachute pants about six months after I bought them in the 90's, as their popularity rose and fell as quickly as M.C. Hammer's wealth did.

Style watchers, however, are justified in their pursuit of spying the newest trends, especially if they have anything to do with an industry involving aesthetics ( fashion, interior design etc.).  As a make up artist, I would never want to get so set in my ways that I would still apply eye shadow the way we wore it a decade or two before, or a shade that was "off the heezy" last year, but passe now (like the term "off the heezy").   Remember those jelly band bracelet thingies from two years ago? Everybody had an armful. Now they're only found at Big Lots and Ollie's Bargain Outlets if you're lucky.

Watching trends helps me to update my wardrobe, which I tweak when finances allow.  And my hair color or style.  Although as a naturally coily girl--relaxer free since 2007, I usually let my hair do its own "thang" and no longer care whether people like it or not.

Which leads me to my latest mani/pedi.  I hardly ever splurge on them in the spring and summer, as I garden and walk about the lawn barefoot.  However, I had time to kill during a recent "tag along" trip with my hubby when he went to a conference.  So I tried the latest spring/summer nail trend--shades of green!!!  They are all over the magazines--nails adorned in greens from mint to emerald, from seafoam to deep teal.  It is a new spin on the deep blues from a year or two ago.  And in my opinion, better.  It is slightly easier for us non-teenagers to look acceptable in mint or seafoam than in electric blue. 
The manicurist had me pick a color.  I looked for a muted mint color.  It took a few coats as it was a thinner, more transparent formula.  The manicurist had a tough time getting it on.  But I loved the look.  I saw it was O.P.I. brand.  I inquired about the color--Zombody to Love.  I don't think the very young Vietnamese girl understood the pun.  I wasn't sure I did either.  I am old enough to have heard my dad listen to "Don't You Want Somebody to Love...".  But it was mint, not Zombie. I guessed that this was a carry over from their Halloween collection. Those silly O.P.I. folks!! But the color was subtle and en vogue now. 

Out in the sun with my flip flops on and my wedding rings blinging, I decided that I loved this green trend.  I always loved green anyway.  But if mint is not your "cup of tea", you can always go for a deeper green.  Just keep it jewel toned, not muddy or forest-y, that's not the style.  Or you can take it to the blue side, with a deep teal that has more blue and just a hint of green. 
IMHO, the deeper or bolder you go, the more youthful you should be.  Neon and glittery colors look cute on teens going to the prom, but it makes some of us more mature divas look like we are trying too hard to appear young, or as I say, pulling a Mariah.

Try a shade of green this spring. If you are tend shy, go with a french manicure with a "shades of green" design.  Or do your toes only.   When you find the right green for you, I think you will like this trend. just don't buy a whole lot of bottles.  Next spring we may be moving along to hot pink again.

P.S.--Zombody to Love by O.P.I. had a hidden surprise.  When the lamps went out that first night in the hotel room, I noticed I was glowing.  Glow in the dark can be fun for ALL ages.  So, yes, I found my inner zombie!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Make up Artistry--Not just for Pageant Contestants Anymore

After putting it off for a while, I am jump-starting my make up artistry business again...and I am feeling quite good about it.  I feel like I'm reunited with my love after a bit of a hiatus.  But I couldn't just jump in head first.  The world of cosmetics is like the world of technology....it is always changing.  what worked for a girl going to prom five years ago may be as outdated as the original Blackberry. (And yes I do still have a Blackberry...for now).  And there are so many new brands, formulations, and techniques.  So I've had some research to do of course.  And I had to load my case with new products.  But I am going to redo my portfolio, sharpen my eyeliner pencils, and sanitize all of my pro brushes.

Getting your makeup done by a real pro is not like having your cousin do it (unless, of course, your cousin is a pro).  And it's not necessarily like going to the cosmetic counter where you will be pressured into buying products.  Pros specialize in techniques that give you the most camera-friendly looks, pay attention to detail, and use our magic to help the make up to stay fresh on your face from the time you walk down the aisle or red carpet to the very last dance!!  We use shading--contouring and highlighting to add dimension to your face.  A pro won't make a seventeen-year-old prom queen look like  "a lil' old lady", nor should we make a forty-something mom going to an interview for an law office job look like Nicki Minaj.  And some men come to pros for "man grooming",contouring, smoothing, shine control, etc. before going before a camera.

I am booking appointments for proms, weddings, photography sessions, and any other special occasion.

And since I am in the rebuilding stage I offer many discounts.  Pro artists normally charge anywhere from $40-$150 per face, depending on their training and experience, and the type of job it is.  My current rates normally begin a $40 per face; however, right now I am discounting that fee...on a sliding scale.  Just email, text, call, or FB message me for pricing.  Don't let the price scare you, I can work with anyone.

***I am not a salesperson nor do I represent a particular cosmetics brand.  However, I do use upscale and professional makeup brands including Urban Decay, Nars, Tarte, M.A.C., Dermablend and more!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Summer Sunscreen Challenge!! Will you accept it?

As I alluded to in my very first entry, the weather in the Mid-Atlantic Region is finally warming up and the sun is full effect as we move closer to the Summer Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere.  Which begs the question; has the Diva convinced you of the importance of sun protection yet?  It's not that we need to arm ourselves only during the summer months or while at the beach.  We need to do so even on a cloudy day.  However, now is the time to start a healthy habit of guarding your largest organ from powerful ultra violet rays.

How many of us brush our teeth morning and night?  Probably a whole bunch of us do.  And why do we so?  I think the main reason is that it was instilled in us at an early age.  It is a healthy habit we learned not long after we cut our first baby teeth.

Well, applying sunscreen should be like that.  It is a very healthy habit.  Especially for those whose melanocytes (color producing cells) are less active.  This means that if your skin is lighter than the color of a butterscotch candy, you are more vulnerable to photo aging and even skin cancer.  And the lighter you are, the less active your cells are.  If you have ivory skin, you are much more likely to burn, to get skin cancer, and to wind up with deeper and more numerous wrinkles early.  No fun, huh?  Well, this is why I am so passionate about people using sunscreen daily.

On to the challenge--will you agree to apply sunscreen every morning to exposed areas between May 20th and September 9th?  Can you commit yourself to placing that bottle or spray or wipe next to your toothbrush and using it before you go outside?  If you are already used to doing this, then this will be a snap.   If not, you should at least commit to trying your very best.

Here is the Summer Sunscreen Challenge:  
I commit to applying a sunscreen product of SPF 15* or higher to all exposed skin at least once each day (preferably in the morning) between May 20th and September 9th, 2012.

And I will get you started, if you're quick with your keyboards.  The first 5 people to write " I accept the challenge"in the comment area below will receive a 1 oz. starter tube of Banana Boat Sport SPF30.
So there is really not much of an excuse to get on board.  At least to commit to try.  Your skin will thank you.


*I recommend SPF 30 or up UVA/UVB, but some of you just won't go for that...I know.

If you are informed that you are a prize winner, check my profile for an email address and email me so that we can discuss delivery.